How networks help you meet client needs
Whether you’re looking to start a business, or you’ve already made the leap, you can’t help but notice all the other people out there doing similar things. Are they your competition? You might think so. But imagine if you could join forces, share ideas, and collaborate on projects? You could meet a wider range of client needs.
Connecting with other service providers with complementary skills opens up new possibilities for your business.
Combining your talents to take on bold new projects
When you started out, you probably had a set idea of how you wanted to use your skills to serve your clients. And then, if you’re a curious type like me, you took on different clients or different projects that expanded your array of services but took you away from your specialty or target niche. You do a bit of everything but would love to get back to your focus area, while still serving your clients.
Yes you can specialise, while teaming up with others to deliver outcomes for clients.
Ad hoc collaborations come to life when you meet another professional with just the skills you need to complete the solution for your client.
You could bring together:
Different pieces of the same project
How about designers, developers, and content writers producing a cohesive website? Or writers, editors and publishers delivering publications or reports?
If you can put together an all-in-one solution, it saves your client engaging separate contractors for each element.
Different stages of the client journey
For example: linking up strategy, implementation, and ongoing work.
What if a brand strategist, marketer and content creator combined to curate a business’s online presence? Or financial planner, accountant and bookkeeper set up a business’s long-term financial goals, reporting systems, and ongoing processing for managing the business lifecycle.
When service providers are working together, it creates a more seamless client experience.
When you get a client inquiry that sounds like a bit of a stretch for your skillset, think about who you know you could team up with to make it work.
Amplifying your talent with help from sub-contractors
When you get busy and you want to ease your workload but still provide the same personalised service to your client base, you could consider engaging sub-contractors for your projects or ongoing service delivery.
Finding someone in your network or getting a recommendation from a fellow business owner helps you ensure your subbie’s a good fit.
Formal sub-contractor arrangements have a few considerations:
- They’re delivering services under your brand, so you’ll need clear guidelines to ensure a consistent brand experience
- Factor in some extra project management time to ensure everything runs smoothly
A subbie brings their own range of skills to contribute to your capacity to meet your clients’ needs.
Another win for collaborating with aligned service providers.
Talent-spotting: referring work to other professionals
Taking on all of the jobs and all of the clients isn’t just impractical, it’s not going to lead to the best results.
Referring work to people in your network can often be best for the client and best for you:
- sending work to other specialists who are a better fit for the client’s needs
- recommending others in your networks – it comes back to you
- you’re more able to handle workload peaks when you can refer out the overflow to trusted peers
Taking on work when you don’t have capacity or expertise isn’t going to serve the client well, let alone yourself. They get a rushed job and you get more stressed and overwhelmed. But if you can connect your client with a business buddy, the client will thank you for looking after their best interests.
The way you care for clients even when there’s no monetary benefit* becomes part of your client experience and something that builds your reputation.
(*some business folk offer a referral bonus for bringing them a client that they didn’t earn through their own marketing)
By creating referral pathways with fellow service providers you’re laying strong business foundations.
We’re better together of course
Collaboration’s a fantastic force
With your talents aligned
Great solutions designed
From your networks, an awesome resource
Collaborating with other service providers amplifies opportunities for your business.
And it’s not just about service delivery – there are other ways you can benefit from building a network of business buddies.
Has this inspired you to explore opportunities to connect with fellow business owners? Get in touch, I’d love to learn how we can help each other.
Connectjen: Helping solo service providers create their own achievable marketing plan, starting with getting clear on ‘who you help and how you help them’.